Undercover Customer Relationships

Who would have thought reality television would showcase the value of creating customer relationships? CBS’s show, Undercover Boss, follows CEOs of  large corporations as they “go undercover” as entry-level employees. In several instances, the CEOs have learned just how important these employees’ relationships are to creating loyal customers.

Joseph DePinto, CEO of 7-Eleven, wanted to discover the secret of their most successful stores. He said of one location,

“It’s the epicenter of coffee for 7-Eleven. This store sells more than 2,500 cups of coffee every day. I need to figure out what makes their coffee business so great, so I can roll it out to our other stores.”

He finds out that in this store with the highest volume of coffee sales, it’s all about the relationship, not the product.  Watch the clip below:

After working with Delores, who greets most customers by name, Joseph DePinto realizes,

“That’s why we’re selling 2,500 cups of coffee. Not because we have great coffee but because we have Delores there.”

In a more unusual situation, Waste Management president Larry O’Donnell learns the local trash collector is the literal face of his company to customers. After watching trash collector Janice greet and hug customers, he began to see her job as building relationships with their customers, in addition to collecting the trash. He made plans to change Waste Management’s approach to productivity measurement.

The specific segment isn’t available, but the full episode is here: Undercover Boss – Waste Management (The segment starts at 30:00).

These corporate leaders got the opportunity to see what their customers and employees experience first-hand. They witnessed the value of customer relationships. But you don’t have to go undercover to build relationships with your customers- you just have to start doing it.

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